By Staff Reporter
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) – Thousands of residents who were displaced in Dassanech Woreda of the Southern Region in Ethiopia due to the floods caused by the overflow of Omo River are crying for help as they have not been provided with emergency aid, sources said.
A local elector, representative of Dassanech Special Constituency in the Regional State Council, Kebede Sahile, criticized the government as the main responsible body for the displacement of the local herdsmen, Ethiopia Insider reported here yesterday.
Dassanech Wereda, one of the administrative structures under South Omo Zone, consists of 16 islands and is divided into 40 Kebeles. Every winter season, the floods that occur following the overflow of the Omo River, many residents have been fleeing their homes for months, according to Ethiopia Insider.
However, since 2018, the frequency of flood and the number of affected areas have increased. Following this, the number of people who have been forced to flee the area has been on the rise, Kebede said.
The People’s representative pointed out that the causes for the displacement of people in 28 Kebeles of Dassanech Woreda “were the Gilgel Gibe One, Two Three and Koisha Dams that were built on the Omo River”.
Previously the people residing in the coastal areas and islands of Omo River used to be evicted by flooding between July and mid-September. But now following the constriction of the dams, the people are displaced the whole year, according to Kebede. He further said that due to the inundation that covered the area, it is hardly possible to get pasture for livestock.
“The herdsmen are now being given emergency aid on a daily basis. This is not enough. They have been displaced for months. Now they are not getting aid large enough for one month properly, Kebede, member of the South Ethiopian Regional Council said, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. The current population of Dassanech Woreda is estimated at 85 thousand. The floods caused by the dams built on the Omo River have “impacted” most of the residents, according to the public representative.
A week ago, the International Federation of Red Cross announced that 85 percent of the population in Dassanech Woreda had been displaced due to floods. The humanitarian organisation also stated that social infrastructure such as health centres, schools, and irrigation networks were badly damaged by the floods.
The Associated Press reported fortnight ago that the International Rescue Committee, another humanitarian organisation operating in the area, announced that the number of displaced people in Dassanech Woreda due to the floods caused by the Omo River is about 79,000. Kebede stated that the problems that the lower sections of the society might face when dams are built on the Omo River have been studied by an independent body. He criticized the government saying that “remedial proposals should have been implemented before the dams were built …before leaving residents vulnerable to displacement and food shortages’ ‘.
A government representative refuted the allegation saying that “the charge filed against the government is not acceptable”. The displacement has even occurred in areas where there are no dams. So, the flooding occured due to climate change, the chief administrator of Southern Region, Tilahun Kebede told Ethiopia Insider.
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